It’s probably fair to say that Britain’s monarchy has been woven into the worlds history, certainly in the last millennia, in a way that few other institutions have. Exerting huge influence, especially over the last three centuries, some have even managed to stand out in that crowd. One in particular is Queen Victoria. During her 63 year reign, second only in length to the current monarch, Victoria watched over a revolution in industry, and an empire beyond compare. The 19th century was a breakneck one, arguably creating more social change than the preceding two millennia had done and we call it now, the Victorian Age.
There’s a lot of idealistic nonsense applied to the harsh realities of life during that period – it was a time of dreamers, after all. One such concept was given a dimensional existence with the construction, in the early 20th century, of the Victoria Monument in London. Designed by Sir Thomas Brock (known in the numismatic world for his 1893-debuted ‘veiled head’ effigy of Victoria), it was commissioned after her death and was built to give physical form to the virtues that Victoria was said to embody. We could write a whole article about this 25 m tall, 2300 ton stone monument, but it’s the coins we’re looking at here.
A six coin series to be released approximately every six months, they take the ‘Queen’s Virtues’ and give them artistic realisation. First to appear is Victory, shown most prominently on the monument at the very top in gilded bronze. Britain’s military domiance at this time, particularly naval, is told through this statues position on the monument, signifying an end to conflict and the start of a time of peace. It fell to Elles Kloosterman to do the design, a Dutch artist with many years experience in coins. In a time when conceptual personifications are more popular than ever in the coin world, this still stands out as a fine piece of work indeed. The way the wings and the palm arc into each is exceptional, as is the flowing gown. It has a more modern feel, evolved from the original rather than slavishly copying it.
The design of the first coin makes us hopeful that this will grow into a fine set of six. Two variants on offer to begin – a 1 oz silver proof and a 1 oz gold proof. There’s no news on bullion versions, but there is prior precedent, and with the end of Jody Clark’s ‘Queen’s Beasts’ bullion series, there’s certainly a hole in the market for them. Seems a no-brainer to me, but what do I know… Each of the pair is well presented and mintages are not excessive (2,500 and 250 respectively). In an unusual touch, buyers of the gold coin (£2,995) can claim a free hamper worth around £180, while those opting for the silver (£99), can claim a tea caddy (EIC take their tea VERY seriously!). Just enter the code VICTORYGOLD or VICTORYSILVER at checkout on the EIC estore. Available now. Nice.